10 “Defenses” that Won’t Protect You Against a DUI Conviction in Wisconsin

10 “Defenses” that Won’t Protect You Against a DUI Conviction in Wisconsin

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, you need to defend yourself by all means available. There are several ways to fight a DUI charge, and mounting a successful defense starts with understanding which defenses you can use based on the facts and circumstances of your case.

It also starts with understanding what “defenses” won’t actually protect you.

When you are at risk for a DUI conviction, mistakes can be costly. While there are several mistakes you need to avoid, one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make is saying something that prosecutors can use against you. Too often, we see people say things that they think will protect them, but that in reality only serve to help seal their conviction.

What Not to Say When Facing a DUI Charge in Wisconsin

What are some examples of the things you need to avoid saying when facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin? Here are 10 common “defenses” that not only won’t protect you, but that can also do more harm than good:

1. You Thought You Were Okay to Drive

When facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter whether you intentionally broke the law. If you are under the influence “to a degree which renders [you] incapable of safely driving” or your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit, you can be found guilty of DUI. If you tell the police or the judge that you thought you were okay to drive, this can effectively amount to a confession that you got behind the wheel after drinking.

2. You Just Had One Beer, Shot, or Glass of Wine

While most people are aware of Wisconsin’s BAC limit (which is 0.08% for most drivers), far fewer people are aware that you can be charged with DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit. This is based on the language in Wisconsin’s DUI statute quoted above. Even if you just have one beer, shot, or glass of wine, if this renders you “incapable of safely driving,” you can be convicted of DUI in Wisconsin.

3. You Were Only a Little Bit Buzzed

For this same reason, you should not tell the police or the judge that you were “only a little bit buzzed.” In Wisconsin, any evidence of alcohol impairment can be enough to justify a conviction.

4. You Thought You Waited Long Enough Before Driving

If you think you might be too drunk to drive, the right thing to do is wait until you are sober before getting behind the wheel. But, even if you try to do the right thing, you can still be convicted of DUI if you don’t wait long enough. This is similar to saying that you thought you were okay to drive. While it might seem like a sound defense, it simply isn’t.

5. You Didn’t Have Any Other Way to Get Home

When you are too drunk to drive, not having another way to get home is not an excuse for getting behind the wheel. If your designated driver left without you or your Uber driver never showed, the law says that you needed to find another way home.

6. You Weren’t Driving When the Police Approached Your Vehicle

There is a common misconception that you can’t be convicted if you aren’t driving when the police approach your vehicle. We’re not sure where this comes from, but it is dangerously incorrect. Even if you are parked when the police approach you, it is still very possible to face a DUI conviction.

7. You Weren’t Driving Dangerously

Another common misconception is that you can avoid a DUI conviction if you weren’t driving dangerously. In Wisconsin, you can be convicted of DUI if you are “incapable of safely driving” or your BAC is over the legal limit. Prosecutors do not need to prove both. So, even if you are fully capable of maintaining control of your vehicle, if you blow above the legal limit on the breathalyzer, this alone can be enough to establish your guilt in court.

8. The Police Stopped You for a Nonmoving Traffic Violation (Not for Drunk Driving)

When the police conduct a lawful traffic stop, they can pursue charges for any traffic violation or criminal offense for which they find probable cause to make an arrest. This means that even if a police officer pulled you over for a broken taillight, if the officer smelled alcohol on your breath after pulling you over, the officer acted appropriately in testing you for alcohol intoxication or impairment.

9. The Police Didn’t Read Your Miranda Rights

Under the U.S. Constitution, the police must read your rights before interrogating you in custody. However, police officers are not required to read your rights before they make an arrest on the side of the road. This means that if you confessed to drinking and driving before your arrest, your confession could be admissible even though the arresting officer hadn’t yet read your Miranda rights.

10. You’re Sorry and You Won’t Do It Again

In Wisconsin, being sorry isn’t enough to save you from a DUI conviction. If you admit to driving under the influence—even if you say that you will never do it again—you can expect to be convicted in court.

While none of these “defenses” will protect you, as we mentioned in the introduction, there are several ways to fight a DUI in Wisconsin. When you meet with a lawyer about your DUI case, your lawyer will examine all of the options you may have for beating your DUI charge. Before you say anything that could make it harder (if not impossible) to fight your DUI, you owe it to yourself to seek advice from an experienced defense lawyer.

Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Madison, WI

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, we strongly encourage you to contact us before you say anything that could jeopardize your defense. To arrange a free and confidential consultation as soon as possible, call 608-257-0440 or send us a message online now. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest in Wisconsin

10 Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest in Wisconsin

When you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, mistakes can be costly. Some mistakes can lead to unnecessary penalties, and others can result in a guilty verdict when you are entitled to walk free. As a result, you need to be very careful, and you need to know what not to do while your case is pending.

What are the mistakes you need to avoid after getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Wisconsin? Here are 10 things you should not do in order to give yourself the best chance of asserting a successful defense:

Mistake #1: Assume You Will Be Found Guilty

No matter what happened, you should never assume that you will be found guilty of DUI. Even if you were driving drunk, you could still have several defenses available. Prosecutors might not have the evidence they need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; or, even if they have the evidence they need, it might not be admissible in court. If prosecutors can’t use their evidence against you, it doesn’t matter if you were drunk behind the wheel—the law says that you are entitled to walk free.

Mistake #2: Assume You Will Be Able to Talk Your Way Out of a Conviction

While you should not assume that you will be found guilty, you also should not assume that you will be able to talk your way out of a conviction. Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter. It is the prosecutor’s job to convict you, and it is the judge’s job to impose a sentence in accordance with Wisconsin law. If your plan is to walk into court and then walk out a free person, your case is not going to go how you want it to go.  

Mistake #3: Ignore Relevant Facts

In a DUI case, all of the facts surrounding your arrest could be relevant to your defense. This includes not only what you were doing before the police stopped you, but what happened during (and even after) your DUI stop as well. With this in mind, when you are preparing to meet with a criminal defense lawyer, it is a good idea to take detailed notes. Write down everything you remember from the night in question—from where the police started following you to what the arresting officer said to you on the side of the road.

Mistake #4: Focus on Facts that Aren’t Relevant

While you need to avoid ignoring relevant facts, you also need to avoid focusing on facts that aren’t relevant to your defense. For example, if your Uber didn’t show up or your designated driver left without you, this does not justify driving under the influence. Likewise, even if you didn’t think you were too drunk to drive, if you were too drunk to drive, it doesn’t matter that you made an honest mistake.

Mistake #5: Get Another DUI

When you are awaiting trial on a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it is very important that you do not get arrested for DUI again. You want to be able to show the judge that you made a one-time mistake, and that you are remorseful about what happened. If you get another DUI, this could make it much more difficult to assert a successful defense—and it will also increase the penalties you are facing in your second DUI case.

Mistake #6: Get Stopped or Arrested for Anything Else

Just as you need to avoid getting another DUI, you also need to avoid getting stopped or arrested for anything else. When you have a DUI charge pending, any type of interaction with law enforcement can increase the risks involved. To protect yourself, avoid alcohol and drugs, carefully follow Wisconsin’s traffic laws, and avoid spending time with anyone who might get you into trouble.

Mistake #7: Overlook Potential Defenses

In addition to making sure you consider all of the facts that are relevant to your DUI case, you also need to make sure you consider all of the defenses you have available. There are a variety of potential defenses to DUI charges in Wisconsin—including defenses you can assert regardless of your BAC (or any other evidence of impairment). If you overlook defenses that you have available, you could end up getting convicted even though you are entitled to an acquittal.

Mistake #8: Ignore Options for Favorably Resolving Your DUI Case

Along with asserting defenses that can protect you against a conviction in court, you may also have other options for favorably resolving your DUI case in Wisconsin. This is true even if you were driving drunk. For example, an experienced defense lawyer may be able to help you secure a plea deal that minimizes the consequences of your DUI arrest, or you may qualify for a diversion program that allows you to avoid trial.

Mistake #9: Miss a Court Date

Regardless of the options you have available, you can lose these options if you disrespect the judicial process. This includes missing a court date. When you are facing a DUI charge, you need to make plans to be in court on time, and you should plan to be there with your defense lawyer.

Mistake #10: Try to Handle Your DUI Case on Your Own

This brings us to our last mistake: trying to handle your DUI case on your own. Due to the challenges and risks involved, you need to have an experienced defense lawyer on your side. An experienced defense lawyer can help with all aspects of your case, and hiring a defense lawyer to protect you can be the least expensive way to handle your DUI.  

Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Middleton for Free

Are you facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin? If so, we can help, but it is important that you contact us right away. To get started with a free and confidential consultation, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.